By Abby Tonsing
2013 Zionsville Community High School graduate Rachael Fiege, 19, died Saturday, Aug. 24, after suffering a head injury from falling down a staircase at a house on North Park Avenue in Bloomington during a party early Friday morning.
Emergency responders were not called until an estimated six hours after the young woman’s fall. The people in the house did not understand the severity of the young woman’s injuries, interim IU Police Chief Laury Flint said.
Fiege was declared brain dead by doctors at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, at IU Health Bloomington Hospital, where she spent much of the day in critical condition and on life support.
The process to prepare Fiege for organ donation started Friday afternoon, according to Monroe County Coroner Nicole Meyer.
“This was a difficult, yet generous, decision by her parents,” she said.
IU officials received notification of Fiege’s death at 8:06 Saturday morning, after she had been taken off life support, Flint said.
Fiege had been visiting friends at a party at 817 N. Park Ave. when she fell down the basement stairs sometime between 1 and 2 Friday morning. She was moved off the basement floor and to another room, laid down on a bed and monitored throughout the morning, police were told.
She was found unresponsive, and emergency responders were called at 7:48 a.m.
Police, firefighters and an ambulance arrived at the house in minutes.
“She died as a result of a head injury,” Meyer said, although an exact cause of death has yet to be determined.
Fiege was a graduate of Zionsville Community High School, where she played soccer.
She arrived on campus on Monday, had moved into Wright Quad and had registered to take classes in pre-nursing.
IU police continue to investigate Friday morning’s incident. No arrests have been made.
“And I don’t anticipate criminal charges being filed in this case, at least not at this time,” Flint said Saturday morning.
Alcohol was in the house at the time of the incident, Flint said.
Results from toxicology tests for Fiege are pending and might take weeks to obtain. An autopsy will not be conducted, Meyer said.
“This is a tragedy that breaks every heart in the IU community,” Flint stated in a press release Saturday morning. “Our deepest sympathies go out to Rachael’s family and friends.”
Counselors are available for students, according to university spokesman Mark Land.
Staff writer Rachel Bunn contributed to this story.